fixing flats and what is that plug made of?

Several years ago a place I worked was in a part of town that was
getting lots of new buildings and a lot of demolition debris was
falling out of trucks. Everyone at work experienced flat tires during
that year. I got 5 or 6 in a little over a year. So I'd be down at the
local service station getting various metal bits removed and the
subsequent hole plugged. They used these BROWN fibrous plugs that were
about 1/4" square and about 3" long. The guy would ream out the hole,
put the plug in the insertion tool, dip it in VASELINE, and install
it. All the fixes worked. Never had to go back because one leaked. But
I couldn't see how lubing the thing up with vaseline would work. And
I'm sure it was vaseline. Today, I was told that the local tire store
wouldn't be able to fix the slow leak in my tire, even if I made an
appointment, while I waited, in less than an hour. So I went to the
hardware store to see if they sold tire repair kits. They do, so 5
bucks and 5 minutes later I was reaming out the hole and installing in
my own tire a plug while it was on the car. The kit has the same plugs
except they are BLACK and are lubed with TIRE CEMENT. Could it be that
the gas station was using the wrong lube all along and I was just
lucky they never leaked? If not, where can I buy the brown ones the
gas station used? They sure worked good. And vaseline doesn't slowly
dry out in the tube. I figure if these plugs work in a car tire they
probably will work in the tractor tires.
Reply to
Eric R Snow
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The ones I use are as you decribed as you bought recently. They appear to me to be fiber mixed with gum rubber. I use quite a few of these, and have had failures, but they have been slow leaks on far gone worn tires. I have also seem plugs that were just slices of a piece of sheet rubber. The rubber cement makes the plugs much easier to install, but I have used them without. The vaseline may have acted as a solvent on the plug patch you used to get. AFAIK the tire shops will not install these in part because of the liability issue of not fully inspecting the possible damage from the puncture. That they can charge a bit more is probbly a secondary benefit.
Cheers Trevor Jones
Reply to
Trevor Jones
The brown plugs come from a company called "Safety Seal."
No, the shop wasn't doing the plug wrong, the lube they used came as part of the plug kit.
A proper tire repair is done with a plug patch, looks like a combination of a tire patch with the plug attached. The wound is drilled out to size (usually 3/8"), the tire is dismounted from the rim, the inner of the tire is dressed and glue is applied just like you would do if patching it, the plug portion is pulled thru the tire tread and the patch part is stitched down to the tire inner like a normal patch, the excess plug portion is trimmed flush with the tread.
Reply to
Neil Nelson
For some reason this patch doesn't work out well on tractor tires and farm implement tires. I have used 'em 'cause they are fast. Because I have five tractors and countless implement tires, I broke down and bought a Coates tires repair machine to fix my own fllats.
Reply to
Karl Townsend
the old plugs for tires are not used any more(a few years back???) probably like me... the years pass by and i forget it was 25 yrs ago.... the places now use patches inside the tire for just about anything and dont use plugs anymore..the tire repair place guy to me that the tires now are too thin to use the plugs in... i guess if you wanted to it might work, but they dont want to use the old plugs as too many customers will be coming back with bad patch jobs.. a tractor should have a thicker tire than a car, so go ahead and use the plug... i bought some years ago from the auto parts place and found out it was a waste.... the place where i purchased the tires would fix the flats for nothing, i only used the plug thing myself once... after fighting the tire from the rim without the correct tools i figured i could not beat free( still gave the tire guy $2.00 for his trouble).. and yest you right the stuff that the shops used was a liquid that was to let the rubber plug slip through the tire and it was not a glue, but i guess you could use a glue if you wanted to with a bad spot.... and a tube of glue in a plug kit from the hardware store was probably like 3 cents more for the kit manufacturer to provide....
Reply to
I had a particularly bad (big) hole in a steel-belted radial. I got the cheap hole patch kit, which had a piece of tapered rubber and some clear liquid cement. I couldn't get the plugs to enter the steel belt.
I went back and got the fancy kit, with the fibrous brown material. This worked for a while, but I had a continual slow leak. Finally, in desperation, I tried glopping the hole and plug with the "stays soft and pliable" gasket sealer before inserting the plug. It worked amazingly well, and looks like it will outlast the tread on the tire.
Reply to
Jon Elson
I once made the mistake of driving into my parent's parking lot just after the roof on their apartment had been re-shingled. I drove home with six nails in my tires, all of which were new Michelin radials. One of them was in the sidewall.
So I got a patch kit with those brown thingies and stuffed all the holes. Three of them held well; the other three leaked. I had left the nubs long enough that I was able to grab them with Vice-Grips and yank them out.
Next I applied two of the brown thingies to each hole, thoroughly buttered with Goodyear Pliobond cement. This probably violates some law of nature, but Pliobond was one of my all-around cures for flexible mechanical problems in those days. It worked beautifully. I got another 60,000 miles out of those tires, even though they looked a little lumpy if you got up close.
Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Nearly forty years ago I worked around a lot of demolition and drove my Beetle for transportation. I got tired of taking tires in to get repaired so bought my own kit - I used to throw tires with more than twelve plugs away! One night I looked out and saw a spike protruding from a tire so got my repair kit ready, pulled the spike and popped in the plug. When I stopped for air the next morning, I hadn't lost enough pressure to activate the auto-inflate air line. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
Reply to
Gerald Miller
many years ago, i remember being in a pinch with a flat tire & limited resources. I looked thru my pile of shit behing seat of truck & found an old can of that nasty black permatex, a screwdriver & a dc compressor. I rammed the screwdriver into hole with permatex to grease it up. Then i ripped about a 2" section of windshield wiper off, dipped that in permatex, doubled it over & rammed it into the hole. I drove on that tire until the the wires were exposed.
Reply to
I have tried more than my share of do-it-yourself leak repairs, including the fiber plugs with rubber cement, rubber plugs with rubber cement, pressurized sealant, injected thru the valve stem. Sometimes the repairs hold--just as often they have a slow leak. I have never had success with the pressure cans. I even tried a pressure can on a tire with a slowly leaking plug repair. It may have slowed the leak a little.
I now to the a tire shop and have them put on an internal patch, which always works. However, the guy I go to uses a flat patch--no pull-through plug on the center. Should I find a different repair shop? I drive on steel-belted radials, and I certainly don't like the idea of tread separation.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Well, I've been lucky, no puncture repair has leaked on any tire I had done with the fibrous plugs. Interestingly, the package for the plugs just used were for steel belted radials. I always run steel belted tires, live in the seattle area, and have never noticed a tire starting to fail after a repair with the fibrous plugs. I can see how water could get into improperly sealed holes and rust. I'm sure the tire would start to bulge whereever that was happening. One particularly bad hole was repaired with two plugs-The guy put in one then the other. Said no guarantees, but it held for another year or so 'till the car got new tires. ERS
Reply to
Eric R Snow
I've plugged tons of holes with the kit like the shop sold you. Some brands are redish brown and others are black. The main thing is that you ream the hole to make it rough, put a liberal dose of rubber cement (tire cement, rubber glue ... I think it's all nearly the same stuff. I just use whatever comes with the kit or is the same brand as the current kit to be safe) on the plug to lubricate & seal and then push it into the tire. The only trick I've added in recent years is to plug the tire and then put in a whole can of the truck size Prestone fix-a-flat. Out of a dozen or so patches, not one has ever leaked. I have seen some "what the hell" looks on folks when they pull tires off to replace them when the tire tread gets too low ;-)
Reply to
Yeah, until the tire blows the side of your car off! There have been reports of that stuff (gummy hydrocarbon goo and propane) causing explosions. Rare, but they happen. Apparently, the goo rolls into a ball, and starts rolling and bouncing inside the tire, building up a static charge. If the air/propane mix is right, when the charge builds up enough to make a spark, the tire goes BOOM! Also, there have been a number of fires, explosions, etc. when these tires are dismounted later at the tire shop. They now have a warning label you are supposed to apply to the rim when you use this stuff.
Reply to
Jon Elson

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